ARGENTINA 2 (2)
Noel Barrionuevo 6’ (PC)
Carla Rebecchi 31’ (F)
GREAT BRITAIN 1 (0)
Alex Danson 64’ (F)
Despite a valiant performance, Great Britain’s women agonisingly missed
out on a place in the London 2012 Olympics hockey final as they went down to a
2-1 defeat against Argentina at the Riverbank Arena tonight.
First half strikes from Noel Barrioneuvo and Carla Rebecchi were enough
to send the world’s number two side into the final, while Great Britain’s
consolation goal came from forward Alex Danson.
Great Britain still have a chance
to claim a medal when they play New Zealand in the Bronze Medal match on Friday
afternoon. Argentina’s reward is a Gold Medal match-up against the Netherlands
Speaking after the game, Great Britain Head Coach Danny Kerry said, “I’m
very proud of what we did tonight. I felt we were definitely, in the second
half at least, the dominant side. I thought Argentina offered little other than
a bit of a dribble and we pretty much outplayed them.”
“The reason for not winning was the half chances; not converting the
opportunity. But I couldn’t ask for any more from the girls. They executed
superbly on what we were trying to do and I felt that Argentina were really
just defending, not offering much other than that but they did that well. I’ve
just an overwhelming sense of pride in how well the girls played and bitter,
bitter disappointment that we haven’t come out on the right end of the result.”
Argentina made the perfect start in the sixth minute when captain
Luciana Aymer played the ball off Clifton’s Georgie Twigg inside the circle to
win their first penalty corner of the game. Defender Noel Barrionuevo made no
mistake from the set-piece opportunity when her powerful drag-flick beat the
unsighted Great Britain and Reading goalkeeper Beth Storry to open the scoring
and give Argentina a 1-0 lead.
With chances few and far between for both sides, Great Britain fostered
their first chance of the game in the 30th minute when Slough’s Ashleigh Ball
found Reading’s Alex Danson in the circle. Despite the unwanted attention of an
Argentinian defender, the 26 year-old forward managed to swivel and produce a marvelous snapshot that only just evaded the outside of the post.
However, Great Britain’s defence was caught out shortly afterwards when
Argentina extended their lead in the 31st minute. Aymer stole a march down the
left hand flank and found Carla Rebecchi in space in a dangerous attacking
position. The Argentinian forward beat the advances of Loughborough Students’
Laura Unsworth and found herself one-on-one with the advancing Storry. With a
sharp sidestep and exquisite stick-work, Rebecchi manoeuvred around the 34 year
old’s dive, dragging the ball back from the baseline to guide it into the open
goal. Great Britain’s players were eager to make a referral to the video umpire
but the moment had passed and Argentina were awarded their second goal of the
With Argentina leading 2-0 at the half-time interval, Great Britain Head
Coach Danny Kerry would have had some words of motivation to deliver to his
side as they looked to get back into the game in the second half.
Great Britain almost got their way shortly after the break when
Barrioneuvo conceded a penalty corner in the 37th minute. Unfortunately,
Leicester’s Crista Cullen saw her shot on target blocked and cleared away from
However, opportunities were starting to appear for Great Britain and in
the 40th minute, Ball saw her shot from just inside the left hand side of the
circle skew wide of the target. Two minutes later, an Unsworth cross from the
right hand side reached Danson, but her shot didn’t have enough power to
trouble Argentina goalkeeper Laura del Colle.
Reading’s Helen Richardson then had one of Great Britain’s best
opportunities to get on the score-sheet when the ball fell to the midfielder at
the back post in the 55th minute. However, her shot was scuffed into the turf
and drifted harmlessly wide of del Colle’s goal.
Richardson made amends for the missed chance in the 64th minute when her
cross into the corridor of uncertainly was turned home by Danson’s reverse
stick to pull a goal back for Great Britain at 1-2.
With the crowd fervently cheering
on Great Britain to snatch an equaliser, it was unfortunately just out of reach
for Kerry’s side as Argentina repelled the home nation’s final attempts to
force the game into extra time.
Speaking after the game, Great Britain Captain Kate Walsh said,
"I'm so proud of these girls. We will give absolutely everything in
the final match to try to win that medal. We are not going home empty handed.
We’ve fought too hard, given too much. We’ve been in this position many times
before as England and Scotland and Wales and now as GB and we will fight for
that bronze medal. The British public and that crowd have been outstanding. We
couldn’t ask for any more from them and we want it again for the bronze medal
“For us, as a legacy of this Games all we want is to get girls out
there, playing hockey. There’s a massive drop off in girls who leave school and
we want them going to clubs, going to Rush Hockey, playing indoor hockey. We’ve
got this massive hockey family and it’s so welcoming, so inclusive of
everybody. That’s what we want to get out of this – people watching hockey,
playing hockey, enjoying hockey.”
With the final score 2-1 to
Argentina, Great Britain now progress to the Bronze Medal match on Friday 10 August (15.30) when there
will be plenty to cheer as they take on New Zealand at the Riverbank Arena.
Meanwhile, Great Britain men will be looking to reach their first
Olympic final since the glory of 1988 when they face the Netherlands tomorrow
night (20.00) at the Riverbank Arena.